Lily Archer is a second year MML student at Churchill College. Lily won an ISLA Award in 2021 and was elected as the BAME Officer on the JCR in her second year.

Lily’s story

Like quite a few other humanities students at Churchill, I didn’t apply here directly. I was unsure at first, as I really wanted to go to a central college but having been here for a year now, there are so many benefits to the location, such as being twice as close to the uni sports centre compared with central colleges, and there is just so much space! I honestly don’t know of any other colleges that have as well-equipped a gym as Churchill, and the fields are amazing in the summer! The ability to go for a 30-40min walk just around the college grounds is so unique to Churchill and I really appreciate it.

I think the relaxed atmosphere at Churchill is really nice, and it’s not something you necessarily realise until you visit or hear about other colleges and their stricter rules. Being able to walk on the grass and go to formals in something you feel comfortable in, for example, really makes a big difference to your experience. I also love the accommodation we have at Churchill, because of how big the rooms are, again thanks to the extra space of being a further-out college. I had the lowest band of accommodation last year, but it was still such a big room, and a lot bigger than most central college rooms.

The Easter term really made me appreciate College even more, as the weather finally made it possible to make the most of the fields! It definitely makes exam term a lot nicer being able to work and revise outside, and the College put out lots of beanbags outside which was great. The week after exams at the end of last year was so much fun – being able to spend every day on the fields with friends and great weather was really nice. The 1st year marriage formal and the Churchill May Ball during this week were also really special and felt like a great way to end the year.

I’ve been involved with the JCR, being elected as BAME Officer in Lent term, and as Gym President over summer. I’ve loved being able to hold social events for the College’s BAME community, and it’s a great way to meet fellow Churchill students. Being on the JCR is a rewarding experience, and, as Gym President, I feel like I’ve really been able to help people out and make changes. I also won the College’s ISLA Prize in Michaelmas Term last year, which is a scholarship in recognition of the achievements of students of Afro-Caribbean heritage. I also go to dance classes in Churchill’s Recital Rooms, which are so much fun!

The best advice I was given when I started at Churchill was that you don’t have to feel pressure to do everything! This kind of goes against the typical “say yes to everything!” advice given at the start of uni, but, especially as a fresher, it can feel like you have to go to every single event and club night in order to make friends. However, the more you do what you actually want to do and go out as often as you want, the more you meet people similar to you, and there is more time to make friends than you think.

Next steps

I’m not too sure of my plans after I finish at Churchill, but I’m hoping my Year Abroad next year will give me a better idea of what I want to do in the future. Longer term, I would like to be living in London doing a job I love, maybe in law or consulting, and of course regularly meeting up with all the amazing friends for life that I have made at Churchill! Hopefully visiting Cambridge and the College now and again as well!